Category Archives: Bach

4 MONTHS IN DUALITUDE

The set of Dickens left me by my lovely Aunt Jenny

As we are 88 and 90, we’ll be confined for at least 4 months in our 9th floor flat. Luckily, we have a balcony that gets the sun in the afternoon. With the weather turning fine, we’ll be able to sit outside and read while getting a South of France tan. Luckily we went to the library just before this plague blew up and I still have six more books left to read. My lovely Aunt Jenny gave me her complete set of Dickens – the Hazell, Watson and Viney Ltd edition with illustrations by Phiz. If push comes to shove, I’ll re-read all 16 volumes. I was recovering from one of my several broken bones when I last ploughed my way through them all.

I planned on using this time to would get on with the sequel to my memoir ‘Woman in a White Coat’, learn another Bach Two Part Invention for the piano, and keep up with my Ancient Greek, but like my New Year resolutions, they fell at the first hurdle!!

We have a very pleasant newish Waitrose nearby in Nine Elms and the last two occasions we went before being confined to our home we had been sent a page of £4-off vouchers if we spent £40. We have always done most of our big grocery shopping in the Tesco’s and Sainsburys in Cromwell Road, only topping up with a few odds and ends in the more expensive Waitrose. On the first occasion, we made up the £40 with toilet paper and on the second with bread flour and yeast – I bake all our bread. Must have earned some good points with a Higher Power to make just those choices.

So, instead of being virtuous, and writing and practising and learning, I’ve been baking and cooking double quantities of dishes – eating half and freezing the other half. It’s so satisfying, starting off with some uninteresting looking powders, making the most heavenly smell, and then producing a great looking crusty load of bread.

The manager of our flats has set up a Whatsapp group so there are offers of help and friendship. And we all come to our balconies and windows to clap for the NHS on Thursdays at 8pm.

I hope those of you reading my memoir ‘Woman in a White Coat’ will take some comfort from the stories of hard times past we all came through.

Lots more stories like this in my memoir ‘‘Woman in White Coat’. Buy it on Kindle at £2.99 or as a paperback on Amazon at £9.99

http://bit.ly/Woman_in_a_White_Coat

Woman in a White Coat

JOHN FIELD COMPOSER (1782-1837)

His 18 Nocturnes
His 18 Nocturnes

Amazing to think that John Field, an eighteenth century Irish composer, travelled all the way to Russia, braving all the hardships associated with long distance travel at that time, settled there, married and had an illegitimate son (Leon Leonov) later a famous tenor as well as a pianist son, Adrian, by his wife, Adelaide percheron, a French pianist and former pupil.

He had moved to London by 1793, where he became a pupil of Muzio Clementi (1752-1832) and travelled with him to Paris, Vienna and St Petersburg, where Clementi left, and Field settled in Moscow.

We tend to associate nocturnes with Chopin  (1810-1849) and Liszt (1811-1886) but they had been very much influenced by Field’s work – his 18 nocturnes in particular.

As well as going back to Bach’s Prelude and Fugue No II, I have started to play Field’s delightful Nocturne No 5. Not difficult to play, but hard to play well.

Bach’s Inventions and Sinfonias

Bach's 'Honest method'
Bach’s ‘Honest method’

I have a number of modern classical pieces as well as jazz and blues in my repertoire but my favourites are the Baroque and Classical composers – Bach, Clementi, Scarlatti, Haydn and Beethoven, but above all Bach (1685-1750). There is something both pure and passionate about his music.

This term I shall be playing his 2-part inventions. Written as teaching aids he labelled them as the ‘ method by which amateurs of the keyboard – especially, however, those desirous of learning – are shown a clear way  not only (1)  to learn to play cleanly in two parts, but also, after further progress, (2)  to handle three obligate parts…’  I particularly love Invention #13 BWV 784.

To the cognoscenti the dull mid-blue cover with black printing and no images immediately says that I shall be working from a G. Henle Verlag Urtext edition – editions which have the least added dynamics etc. This version was printed in 1978 and edited by Rudolf Steglich and with fingering by Hans-Martin Theopold  – most of which I use.